Overcoming "Token" Fears

Meet Kim Patton.  she is feisty and on a mission. I want you to hear about some of the brave things  she and her husband Sherwynn are doing in this city.  Both of us were blown away by the tremendous response to reconciliation circles a few weeks ago.  If you missed it go here.

Listen as Kim and I talk about our experience and some of the tensions and the vision for the future of reconciliation in your neighborhoods and cities. This is brave for us. We talk about the word "token" and how difficult it can be to overcome this fear as you begin to pursue diverse friendships.

So, if you would like to begin conversations around reconciliation, here are a few of our suggestions.  One question you may have--is this a black/white conversation? No.  Our friend Karen Yang is a big part of our circle and adds a completely unique perspective as an Asian American.

1.  Reach out to one friend of a different race--someone you already have a relationship with.

If you don't have a friend of a different race, it's time to make some new friends. :)

2.  Get together and discuss what it would look like to bring together several friends from different races to discuss reconciliation.

Guidelines for your reconciliation circles:

1.  Have a talking piece like Kim mentions in the video.  It can be a rock or something else meaningful or symbolic.  This allows for the person speaking to feel safe and requires everyone else in the room to really listen.

2.  Before your time together, create questions  to get the conversation started.  Here are some that we have used in our circle:

What does it mean to be a transracial family and how do you view this?

Why does building deep friendships of a different race matter so much?

Tell a story about a time when someone of another ethnicity made an assumption about you (Cause) and it caused you harm (Effect).  How did that make you feel?

Tell a story about a time when you made a WRONG assumption about someone else of another race (Cause) and they responded to you in a negative way (Effect).  How did that make you feel?

In what way does your life reflect the importance of diversity?

What is your vision for diversity within Christ's body, the greater church?  What does diversity look like to you?

What difference would it make (in your friendships, families, our community, the broader current culture, etc.) if the diversity was more of a realty in our life & church?

3.  It's important to follow up--let this be the beginning of friendships.  We have girl's nights, celebrate birthdays and graduations.

Last week our group got together at the park for a big pot luck picnic.  I cannot imagine if these friends were not a part of our lives.


I believe in this more than ever and I look forward to the day that "token" is a foreign thought because life is just full of diverse friendships and the body of Christ is unified more fully as One.

 What are the tensions that you are processing?  Are you going to start a conversation? Tell us your thoughts.

 What are the other questions we can help you answer? Kim Patton will be around the blog today answering your questions. 

Jennie Allen14 Comments